How Long Do You Have to Go to School to Be a Medical Coder?

Are you interested in becoming a medical coder and want to know how long you need to go to school to become one? If the answer to the question is yes, you are on the right page as you will be informed about it.

Apparently, the time it takes to learn medical coding varies. Everything depends on the training program used and the option whether you want to get the certification or earn a degree. There are some different kinds of billing and coding schools, ranging from for profit programs to community colleges. In addition to these, there are also some vocational-technical schools. While it is not required by the law, in fact, certification is required by most employers.

How Long Do You Have to Go to School to Be a Medical Coder

Training prerequisites

If you want to be a medical coder, you will have to have a minimum of a high school diploma. However, it is always better to have a higher education as a lot of them have post secondary qualifications or an associate degree. In order to be a medical coder, you will have to have knowledge of anatomy, physiology, medical terminology, and biology.

Apparently, each billing and coding school has its own prerequisites. It is the reason why it is needed for you to speak with the advisor in order to make sure that you are done with the preliminary work. You might be required to have this experience before you register for the programs while some college coding courses might not have prerequisites at all. Some colleges actually allow the students to study these subjects when the course of the coding studies is on the way.

College coding certificate courses

Some coding programs are offered on campus while some others are offered online. If you want to find the accredited colleges that offer medical coding and billing degrees, you are recommended to click this link here. On the page, you will be able to find the list of the accredited colleges that offer such things. Feel free to go to the site to find the available programs in your area. If you are too lazy to go there, here is the list of some of them:

    1. Abcott Institute ($9,000 annual tuition fee)
    2. Aims Community College ($10,418 annual tuition fee)
    3. Alaska Career College ($13,693 annual tuition fee)
    4. Albany Technical College ($5,396 annual tuition fee)
    5. Alexandria Technical & Community College ($5,565 annual tuition fee)
    6. Alpena Community College ($7,050 annual tuition fee)
    7. American Auto Institute ($18,300 annual tuition fee)
    8. American Career College ($34,450 – $34,950 annual tuition fee)
    9. American College for Medical Careers ($20,300 annual tuition fee)
    10. American College of Healthcare ($16,135 – $16,553 annual tuition fee)
    11. American Institute ($15,995 – $20,300 annual tuition fee)
    12. American National University ($8,208 – $8,280 annual tuition fee)
    13. Anne Arundel Community College ($13,160 annual tuition fee)
    14. Anoka Technical College ($5,734 annual tuition fee)
    15. Anthem College – Bryman School

Talking about the programs, you might be interested in the hybrid programs offered by some colleges. What are the hybrid programs? If it is your first time hearing the term, it refers to the programs that combine both classes and virtual learning. Usually, the medical billing course that is based on class takes one year to complete. However, it is still possible for you to finish some programs more quickly if you want as long as you are able to increase the class schedule or work at your own pace online. Talking about classes, it is stated that they usually run in the evenings or late afternoons. Actually, some of them are also available at weekends and over the summer.

The American Health Information Management Association and American Academy of Professional Coders coding training

Every medical coder is able to earn certification through two well-known organizations called the American Health Information Management Association or AHIMA and American Academy of Professional Coders or AAPC. The first one is mostly for the inpatient services, while the second one certifies billing and coding specialists to handle physician services and outpatient claims. There are a few medical coding training programs offered by these two.

For those at an introductory level, there is a coding basics offered by AHIMA. This one is a 12 class. This is considered as an online course. The course is one of the most favorite as it makes it possible for the students to complete at their own pace. Every student is recommended to take a total of three classes at a time across four clusters and it will only take about 15 months.

Just like AHIMA, AAPC also runs online courses. Not only that, it also has class based courses. The online courses offered by it run at 80 clock hours and there are four months for the students to complete a course after the process of purchasing.

As for the class based courses, the timings vary, depending on the student of the company giving the training.

Coding apprenticeships

While it is true that getting a coding apprenticeship is not easy, there is still a possibility to take the Certified Professional Coder of CPC exam and get the CPC-A designation, the one that identifies you to the prospective employers as an apprentice with less than two years of work experience. You are given time by an apprenticeship to work towards full certification and it can be through work experience or continuing education units or CEUs.

Medical billing and coding certification requirements

It might not take too much of your time learning about medical coding. However, the time that you need is longer if you want to become a certified one. For your information, the requirements of the medical billing and coding certification depend on the certifying organization. For instance, the certified coding associate exam of AHIMA requires a total of six months of coding experience. Another option includes a completion of an approved program of study.